Southern Water targets zero pollution incidents by 2040

Southern Water has published a Pollution Incident Reduction Plan, setting out how it plans to achieve zero pollution incidents by 2040.


The company has undertaken detailed causal analysis of previous incidents and scrutinised best practice, to identify four key themes to improve its performance:

• improving the resilience of assets and processes – including by taking a risk based approach;

• trusted monitoring and analysis of assets;

• smart networks, with fast and effective responses; and

• staff and customer participation – including through cultural and behavioural adjustment.


The plan forecasts a rapid drop, from the over 300 category 1 to 3 wastewater pollutions Southern Water was responsible for in 2019, to around half that by 2021 and fewer than than 80 pollutions by 2024.


The Pollution Incident Reduction Plan forms part of a wider initiative called Environment+, which along with pollution reduction features four other work streams: wastewater treatment compliance, bioresources and energy, abstraction management and flood avoidance.


Head of pollution and flooding resilience at Southern Water, Dr Nick Mills, said: “We're one of the first organisations in the sector to have analysed the challenge in detail and developed a plan like this - and we're proud of it…We’re very much a company in transformation and have undergone significant cultural changes. This has affected our reported performance in 2019 and the size of the challenge ahead of us. We are confident this plan and future iterations of it will allow us to reduce the number of pollutions incidents."